My ex-husband has had issues with mental illness - depression and anxiety for a long time. On two occassions I have stopped contact between him and the kids when he was behaving in a manner that either hurt the kids or made them feel threatened. We would then do a staged re-introduction and things would get back to normal for a few months.
We actually hadnt had anything go wrong for perhaps two years or so and then six months ago he started smacking them, shouting at them and making them feel unsafe. he would always blame the kids, saying that if they behaved better, he wouldnt have to do it.
We all met as a family when this last happened and I told him that hurting the kids, screaming at them and making them feel unsafe was not an appropriate form of discipline, and that if it happened again, I would stop him seeing the kids.
This weekend he got mad with my ten year old daugher because she was mouthy. She was sitting on the couch, so he pulled her off the couch by the arm, dragged her out the front door, down the step and slammed the door.
Later in the day they were having a meal and she was being silly at the table, so he saw red and threw a glass of water in her face.
Today I have contacted CPS. They dont get involved directly here unless both parents are not able to care for the kids, but they have logged my call. They have also given me resources on anger management and parenting to pass onto him. We will also attend Family Mediation as I need him to hear from a third party that THIS IS NOT OKAY.
My son slept very badly last night. He is a gorgeous little six year old boy, thatch of red hair, all arms and legs. His dad has also thrown him out of the door, dragged him places by the ear, picked him up by one arm and flung him in a car.
I have decided no contact without supervision for the foreseeable future.
My eldest daughter (nearly 13) has always been her dad's loyal ally, but it was her that told me all this, her that sent me a text Sunday to tell me what happened. She was upset when I made the decision I did about ending contact, but later in the day she said "you know what, its for the best. He is a grown man and he needs to understand there are consequences for his actions". Wow, she is wider than her dad.
I also contacted the younger two kids' school and had a good chat with their principal. She is arranging visit with a psychologist through their school, and because of my income level it shouldnt cost me anything.
My son told me yesterday he wanted a new dad. How heartbreaking that a six year old should feel that way.
Thanks for listening, had to get it out so I can actually be productive at work today.